While not of the power of lasers seen in films like Star Wars, the USS Ponce will soon be roaming the seas with a laser defence weapon designed to take on a range of future threats.
Dublin: 08.03.2014 07.30AM
When a teenager from Calgary, Alberta, takes off on Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo upon turning 18 next year, he will become the youngest person to ever be in space.
The teenager booked his ticket - which costs which costs $200,000 (around €150,000) each - when he was 16 and will fly after he turns 18, the minimum age limit for Sir Richard Branson's forthcoming Virgin Galactic space travel service. A parent will accompany the teen on the trip.
At the moment, cosmonaut Gherman Titov is the youngest person to have ever been in space - he blasted off at the age of 25.
The teen, a travel agent said, is currently the only person under 18 on the list, which reportedly also includes comedian Russell Brand, and physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking.
Some 440 deposits have already been put down for the space tourism project, with deposit fees totalling more than $55m (around €40m).
Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo, also known as the VSS Enterprise, is a rocket-powered vessel that will make the journeys into space. The vessel can carry up to six passengers and two pilots in flights that will travel at three times faster than the speed of sound.
The trips are to include about six minutes of weightlessness and a sub-orbital view 109 kilometres above Earth.
Virgin Galactic said it hopes to lower the price of the voyages within five or six years.
Photo: White Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo during a flyby at Spaceport America. The Virgin Galactic logo is on the underside of SpaceShipTwo